Champions suffer first league defeat in two years

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The wet weather played havoc with the shinty schedule but Oban Camanachd grabbed the headlines with a win over champions Newtonmore last Saturday.

Marine Harvest Premiership
Oban Camanachd 2
Newtonmore 1
Oban Camanachd took the honours in the Marine Harvest Premiership match of the day beating reigning champions Newtonmore 2-1 at Mossfield.
Scott McKillop hadn’t recovered in time from a shin problem so he missed out for the home side.
Newtonmore’s Paul MacArthur was also sidelined, with a hamstring problem, so David MacLean started at wing centre.
Oban Camanachd made the breakthrough on 18 minutes when Andrew MacCuish collected possession on the edge of the centre circle and beat two players on a 30-yard run forward before his shot went low into the net, taking a bounce on the way.
Lorne Dickie made it 2-0 on 27 minutes when his low effort from the left of the ‘D’ beat keeper Owen Fraser.
The Oban Camanachd midfield of Daniel MacCuish, Lorne Dickie and Aidan MacIntyre was providing plenty ball for their forwards and Malcolm Clark, who again played really well, twice went close to adding to the home side’s tally.
Newtonmore came back into the game before the break but were unable to reduce the deficit until 68 minutes. Oban Camanachd claimed for a free-hit following a challenge but referee Lachie Wood opted for a throw-up which the visitors won. Glen MacKintosh won possession and made just enough space to beat keeper Gavin Stobbart on his left side to make it 2-1.
A terrific 30-yard strike from Matt Rippon was heading for the top corner of the net but ’More keeper Owen Fraser made a brilliant save, stretching to tip the ball over the bar with his caman.
Newtonmore defender Andy MacKintosh was shown a straight red card by referee Lachie Wood following a tussle with Daniel MacVicar in which he grabbed his visor and the home side saw out the closing stages to take the points. MacKintosh only returned from a ban a week earlier as a substitute against Glenurquhart and now faces another spell on the sidelines.
Newtonmore went through the whole of last season only dropping two points – both in draws with Kyles Athletic. In comparison, they have now already dropped three points in their first three league matches this year so it will be interesting to see how they respond. Next up for them is the opening round of their MacTavish Cup defence when they travel to An Aird to play Fort William.
Oban Camanachd have a bye in the opening round of the Gregor Cameron Consultancy Glasgow Celtic Society Cup so they will host Kyles Athletic in the league at Mossfield this Saturday.
Boss Iain Hay knows they will need to be at their best to take anything from the game.
Speaking after the win over Newtonmore, Hay said: ‘We are creating chances which is encouraging so more goals will come. The forwards are showing good movement and that’s good to see.
‘We have also stood up to some physically demanding games over recent weeks and we’ve shown good battling qualities and I’m pleased to see these areas of our game improve.’
Hay also hopes to have a couple of injured players back soon. He added: ‘Scott MacKillop has a hospital appointment this week and we hope to have him back before too long. David Lafferty was also at the game today as a spectator and he is working his way back from injury.’
Iain Hay and Fraser Inglis have been working their players hard at training.
‘Fraser and I take a night each at training,’ said Hay. ‘Our fitness is good and that’s been evident towards the end of our games already this season. There are a couple of players who have a bit more work to do to achieve full fitness but we are on the right track.’
Kyles haven’t had a game for the last two weeks but they had an extended training session after the postponement of their game with Kinlochshiel last Saturday and James Perlich’s side will relish the trip to Mossfield.
A large crowd is expected for what should be an entertaining 90 minutes.

Lovat 4
Kilmallie 2
Lovat came from two goals down to defeat Kilmallie 4-2 in their 3pm throw-up at Balgate.
Lovat manager Fraser Gallacher was without Drew Howie, Martin Mainland and Mark Kelly but Danny Kelly was passed fit to play after suffering a head knock against Kinlochshiel a week earlier. Daniel Grieve started at full back.
Kilmallie boss Mark MacPherson was without six first team players including full back Allan MacDonald, Peter McIntyre and Michael Rodger who began a two-game ban following his red card against Kingussie a week earlier. Craig MacIsaac was free to play but now faces a period on the sidelines as his booking against Kingussie a week earlier triggers a three-match suspension.
Kilmallie survived a couple of early scares, including a Shane Gillies save with his feet to deny Greg Matheson, before taking the lead on their first serious attack of the game. They played the ball up the left wing and a poor clearance out of the Lovat defence fell to Ryan Stewart who made it 1-0 with just four minutes played.
The game then switched from end to end for a period although Lorne MacKay came close to a leveller but Shane Gillies again saved well.
Kilmallie extended their lead on 31 minutes when a ball down the right found Mark Graham who neatly beat his marker to score from 20 yards.
Lovat responded almost immediately and pulled a goal back a couple of minutes later. A diagonal ball from left to right caused the problem for Kilmallie. Greg Matheson got to the ball first and scored to make it 2-1.
Lovat levelled on 37 minutes. Greg Matheson saw an initial shot blocked but Lewis Tawse was in support and prevented the Kilmallie defence from clearing their lines. The ball fell again for Matheson and he scored from a tight angle on the right to make it 2-2.
It got even better for the home side when a Greg Matheson strike was well-saved by keeper Gillies but Lorne MacKay was on hand to net from the left of the ‘D’.
Lovat were now 3-2 ahead with three first half minutes remaining, a situation which seemed unlikely just 12 minutes earlier.
The second half never hit the heights of the first 45 minutes. Callum Cruden and Innes Blackhall were having a great battle in the full centre positions and each side enjoyed periods of pressure.
Lovat thought they had extended their lead on 55 minutes when a Shane Gillies clearance deflected into the net off Lovat forward Greg Matheson but referee Martin MacLean ruled out the effort for a kick on the advice of the goal judge.
The only second half goal came on 63 minutes. Lorne MacKay took possession wide on the right. He was allowed time and space to control the ball before thumping a 25-yard strike into the net to make it 4-2.
A clever Lorne MacKay dummy allowed Greg Matheson sight of goal on 72 minutes but the Scotland marksman put his strike just the wrong side of the post.
Kilmallie almost set up a grandstand finish 10 minutes from time when Mark Graham found space at the edge of the ‘D’ but his shot went high and wide of goal.
Lovat boss Fraser Gallacher gave Calum Macaulay a first start of the season and he was influential with his pace at wing centre causing Kilmallie problems.
Kilmallie missed Michael Rodger’s presence and manager Mark MacPherson will be keen to get some of his missing players back.
Both sides will look for more from their defensive players in the weeks ahead.

Kingussie 2
Glenurquhart 0
Kingussie go top of the Marine Harvest Premiership after two late goals gave them a 2-0 win over Glenurquhart in a very close encounter at the Dell.
Both teams went into the game with three points out of a possible four.
Kingussie captain Ryan Borthwick returned after missing the goalless draw with Kilmallie the week before. Rory Mackeachan had recovered from a hand knock sustained in last weekend’s draw with Kilmallie.
Garry MacKintosh continued in goal for the ‘Glen’ but man-marker Connor Golabek was unavailable so Fraser Heath was deployed in defence. Andrew Corrigan was off-shore but John Barr made it back from overseas in time to take up his usual full back position.
Glenurquhart edged the first half but they couldn’t convert their chances into goals. Whenever they broke the Kingussie back-line, they found Craig Dawson in confident mode in goal.
Kingussie came back strongly after the break and broke the deadlock on 73 minutes. Rory MacGregor broke down the Kingussie left. The visiting defence had a chance to clear the danger but Ryan Borthwick took the ball from John Barr and beat a defender before cutting in from the left to score from a tight angle.
Glenurquhart’s Fraser Heath had played well in defence but he was pushed up front for the closing stages as his team went in search of a leveller.
The next goal came at the other end though when, with 10 minutes remaining, Roddy Young sealed the win. The move started with a Craig Dawson goal hit which was played down the right by wing centre Ryan MacWilliam. Savio Genini collected possession near the corner flag and his cross found James Falconer who saw his shot deflected into the air.
‘Glen’ defender Lachie Smith, who had a fine game, tried in vain to hit the dropping ball first time but Roddy Young nipped in to strike the ball first time on his back-hand, sending it high into the net to make it 2-0 to take his side to the top of the table.

Kyles Athletic P
Kinlochshiel P
The clash between Kyles Athletic and Kinlochshiel was postponed on Friday as Kyles’ Tighnabruaich pitch was waterlogged.
Kinlochshiel forward John MacRae would have missed this one through suspension so his ban will carry forward to this coming weekend’s RBS MacTavish Cup tie at home to Kingussie.
Next up for Kyles Athletic are two difficult away games against Oban Camanachd and Newtonmore.

Lochaber P
Glasgow Mid Argyll P
An unplayable pitch led to the postponement of the match between Lochaber and Glasgow Mid Argyll at Spean Bridge.

Marine Harvest National Division
Oban Celtic 1
Skye Camanachd 3
Skye Camanachd are the early leaders in the Marine Harvest National Division after they beat Oban Celtic 3-1 at Ganavan.
The pitch passed an early morning inspection on the day of the game. However the rain over the previous 48 hours meant the Oban side’s ground staff had to put in a power of work to allow the game to go ahead.
Oban Celtic manager Kenny Wotherspoon was without Rory Bruce and John Hill. George MacMillan stepped in in place of Bruce on the wing.
Skye Camanachd co-managers Willie Cowie and Peter Gordon were without injured duo Steven Morrison and Will Cowie but Iain Nicolson was able to re-join the squad. Danny Morrison and Ally ‘Spod’ MacLeod also returned after missing the previous week’s draw with Caberfeidh.
Oban Celtic created a couple of early chances but Skye keeper Iain MacLeod saved well with his feet on both occasions.
Skye were forced to make early changes when they lost Iain Nicolson after just two minutes after he suffered a blow to the face and then Neil MacVicar on 10 minutes, as he had to leave the field with a thumb injury. Iain MacLellan came on for Nicolson and Ally ‘Spod’ MacLeod replaced MacVicar.
MacLellan’s introduction proved to be particularly profitable for Skye and he got to a Jordan Murchison corner ahead of his marker on 26 minutes and, with a half swing, sent a low shot into the net to make it 1-0.
The first half was tousy at times but it was Skye who doubled their lead on 41 minutes. A Jordan Murchison shot from 20 yards was saved by Celtic keeper Stephen Davidson but Iain MacLellan pushed the rebound into the bottom corner of the net on his back-hand.
Skye almost had a third before the break but a Jordan Murchison drive cannoned off the post.
The heavy rain had taken its toll on the pitch and the surface started to cut up in the second half.
Skye were the team taking their chances and Iain MacLellan completed his hat-trick on 75 minutes. A Calum Gibb corner came out to around the penalty spot and MacLellan’s half-volley sent the ball hard and low into the net to make it 3-0.
Oban Celtic pulled a goal back a minute later when Neil Carmichael capitalised on a defensive slip to score.
There was still time for Iain MacLellan to hit the post and the win takes Skye to the top of the table.
Newly promoted Oban Celtic, for whom Ross MacMillan was again excellent, won’t be too disappointed on the back of the defeat.
They have now played both the teams relegated from the Premiership at the end of last season and they’ll look to kick on at Bute in the Gregor Cameron Consultancy Glasgow Celtic Society Cup this Saturday.

Caberfeidh P
Fort William P
The match between Caberfeidh and Fort William was postponed on Friday as incessant rain left the pitch at Castle Leod unplayable.
A fixture reverse wasn’t an option as An Aird also fell to the wet weather.

Beauly P
Strathglass P
The encounter between Beauly and Strathglass was called off on Saturday morning as Braeview Park failed a pitch inspection.

Inverness P
Inveraray P
There was also disappointment for Inverness and Inveraray with the Bught Park ruled unplayable on Saturday morning.
Inverness have a MacTavish Cup first round bye on Saturday whilst Inveraray also have an opening round pass in the Gregor Cameron Consultancy Glasgow Celtic Society Cup so the sides have been scheduled to meet in the league at the Winterton.

Marine Harvest North Division 1
Newtonmore P
Aberdeen University P
The whole Marine Harvest North Division 1 programme was wiped out starting with the game between the Newtonmore second team and Aberdeen University which was postponed on Friday afternoon as the Eilan was waterlogged.

Fort William P
Beauly P
There was a Friday evening call-off for the encounter between the Fort William second team and the Beauly second team as the pitch at An Aird was unplayable.

Glenurquhart P
Skye Camanachd P
The Glenurquhart reserves and the Skye Camanachd reserves stood down as a couple of days of heavy rain left the Blairbeg pitch waterlogged.
A switch of fixture was also ruled out as Skye’s Pairc nan Laoch pitch was also unplayable.

Kinlochshiel P
Kingussie P
The meeting between the Kinlochshiel colts and the Kingussie colts was postponed on Friday as the wet weather left Kirkton unplayable.
The clubs were unable to reverse the fixture as the Dell couldn’t take two matches.

Marine Harvest
South Division 1
Aberdour 5
Kyles Athletic 3
Roddy MacColl came back to haunt his former club as Aberdour beat the Kyles Athletic second team 5-3 in a ding-dong battle at Silversands.
Jack Mitchell was still sidelined through injury for Aberdour whilst Cammy McCue was also missing for the same reason.
With their first team game rained off, Kyles gave forward Sandy MacKenzie a run out with the seconds.
Kyles started well, but the opening goal came at the other end when David MacKenzie put Aberdour ahead on the half hour mark. Their lead only lasted three minutes though after Sandy MacKenzie equalised.
Aberdour regained the initiative on 35 minutes. An Angus Thorburn thunderbolt was saved but Roddy MacColl was in the right place to slot home the rebound.
Kyles drew level for a second time a minute before the break when Sandy MacKenzie was afforded too much space and he sent the ball past an unsighted Tom Bowerman in the Aberdour goal to make it 2-2.
Aberdour started to take control of the centre line and went in front for a third time three minutes after the restart thanks to a second goal from Roddy MacColl.
Former Kyles stalwart MacColl took his tally to four goals with strikes on 50 and 69 minutes to make it 5-2. MacColl’s third came when he took advantage of a defensive lapse and his fourth came when he drifted into space to get onto a clever David McDougall pass to score.
Kyles finished strongly and Craig Martin pulled a goal back to make it 5-3 with eight minutes remaining. The visitors pressed hard during the closing stages but Aberdour defended well and it stayed 5-3 until referee Calum Girvan’s final whistle.
Aberdour top the division, a point ahead of Col Glen and Ballachulish in what already looks to be a close, competitive league.

Tayforth 2
Lochside Rovers 1
A Neil Shearer strike eight minutes from time gave Tayforth a 2-1 win over Lochside Rovers at Levenhall Links.
Former Lochcarron player Finlay Stark gave Tayforth an early lead, scoring after just seven minutes.
Craig MacDougall, back in the Lochside Rovers squad after a spell with Oban Lorn, drew the visitors level on 27 minutes.
And that’s the way it stayed until 82 minutes when Neil Shearer netted to give Tayforth their first points of the season.

Ballachulish 2
Col Glen 2
Col Glen bounced back from going two goals down to draw 2-2 with Ballachulish at Jubilee Park.
The pitch passed a Saturday morning inspection and Balla’ got off to a great start when Lorne Brown put them ahead after a couple of minutes. Brown latched onto a ball over the top from Duncan MacDonald and his first-time effort found the bottom corner of the net.
Lorne Brown got his and Ballachulish’s second goal on 12 minutes. This time Ross MacLean floated in a corner to the back post. The ball was missed by the Col Glen defence and Brown found the back of the net to make it 2-0 and it remained that way until the interval.
Tom Irvine pulled a goal back on 68 minutes. The Balla’ defence was unable to deal with a cross from the right and the ball found its way to Irvine who beat the keeper to make it 2-1.
It looked as if Balla’ would see out the closing stages but when the visitors were awarded a free-hit at the edge of the ‘D’, the ball was played to Conor Kennedy who became the Col Glen hero with an equaliser on the stroke of full time.
This was a good game and whilst Ballachulish had the better of the first half, they missed chances to put the game to bed and Col Glen turned the tables on them in the second period.
Col Glen stay second in the league with Ballachulish in third spot.

Glenorchy P
Kilmory P
The game between Glenorchy and Kilmory was called off as Glenorchy’s Mart Park pitch was unplayable.

Bute P
Taynuilt P
The game between Bute and Taynuilt was postponed on Friday afternoon as the Meadows was unplayable.
Marine Harvest North Division 2
Strathspey Camanachd 0
Glengarry 5
Strathspey Camanachd and Glengarry went into their 1.30pm throw-up at Grantown Grammar School having both won their opening two games of the season.
And it’s Glengarry who stay top of the league after a whirlwind start set them on the way to a 5-0 victory.
The home side gave Scott McIntyre a debut in what was at times a physical encounter.
Nick Dalgety has settled in well at Glengarry since his close-season switch from Lochcarron and the Scotland U21 cap put his side in front after just three minutes.
It was 2-0 just a minute later and this time it was Stuart Gregory who did the damage.
Stuart Gregory got his second and ’Garry’s third goal on 20 minutes to give the home side an uphill task.
Nick Dalgety got his second five minutes after the restart and Dalgety completed his hat-trick 10 minutes from time to round off the 5-0 win.
’Garry don’t have a game this coming weekend in this 11- team league.

Strathglass 2
Lochcarron 5
Lochcarron followed up last week’s victory over the Inverness seconds with a 5-2 triumph over the Strathglass second team at Cannich.
Liam Arnott put Lochcarron ahead on 10 minutes but Barry Phimister levelled three minutes later.
There was no further scoring in the first half but a goals explosion followed in the final quarter of the game.
Lochcarron’s Peter MacKenzie made it 2-1 on 67 minutes and a second from Liam Arnott three minutes later made it 3-1.
Peter MacKenzie got his second on 75 minutes but Simon Owen pulled a goal back for Strathglass on 79 minutes to make it 4-2.
Lochcarron went straight up the park from the restart and Sean MacCuish sealed the 5-2 victory with a strike 60 seconds later to notch up Lochcarron’s second win in two outings.
Lochcarron go second in the table and they host the Lovat reserves this Saturday.

Boleskine 0
Caberfeidh 5
The Caberfeidh second team beat Boleskine 5-0 at Smith Park.
Caberfeidh’s Neil MacKenzie was free of suspension so he started in defence but Brian Mackain was missing.
Caberfeidh took the lead after three minutes when John Ritchie set up Stuart Krzyzanowski to score.
Stuart Krzyzanowski got his second on 20 minutes when he collected a long ball forward and turned his marker. Krzyzanowski then showed good close control to take the ball goalwards before stroking it home.
Jamie Matheson managed Boleskine last season and, after leaving his post, he made a scoring debut for the Caberfeidh reserves against Glengarry a week earlier.
And Matheson got in on the act against his former club with a powerful shot on 35 minutes which made it 3-0 at the break.
Stuart Krzyzanowski and Jamie Matheson were effective as twin full forwards and another blistering drive from Matheson made it 4-0 on 70 minutes.
When referee Archie Ritchie pointed to the penalty spot with 10 minutes remaining, Jamie Matheson stepped up to complete his hat-trick and the 5-0 win gives ‘Cabers’ their first points of the season.

Lovat P
Lewis Camanachd P
The 12.30pm throw-up between the Lovat seconds and Lewis Camanachd was postponed on Friday evening as it was decided the Balgate pitch couldn’t take two games.

Kilmallie P
Inverness P
The match between the Kilmallie colts and the Inverness colts was postponed on Friday as Canal Parks was ruled unplayable.
Despite the fact their game was cancelled, it was a busy time for Kilmallie. At a specially arranged meeting earlier in the week, Andrew Mcalister was appointed second team manager, assisted by Ross MacKenzie.
The duo take over from stalwart Dugald MacPhee, who served the club for 26 years, and his assistant Ken Kennedy.
Kilmallie also launched a drive to recruit new players as well as reaching out to any former players who might want to get involved again. The club is also looking for volunteers who are willing to help out off the field of play.

The Lochaber second team were without a scheduled fixture in this 11-team league.

Marine Harvest South Division 2
Strachur 4
Dunoon 0
Strachur’s long-awaited return to league shinty took place at the third time of asking with Dunoon Camanachd the visitors at Strachurmore.
An Iain MacLennan double and a goal from Angus Campbell had Strachur 3-0 ahead at half time. Iain MacLennan went on to complete his hat-trick after the interval to mark Strachur’s welcome return to competitive shinty with a 4-0 win.

Glasgow Mid Argyll 4
Bute 0
Glasgow Mid Argyll’s second team beat the Bute second team 4-0 at Peterson Park, Yorker.
Glasgow youngster Calum McLay put his side on the front foot with quick-fire goals on 20 and 22 minutes.
Former Kilmallie player Seb MacMillan added a third on 31 minutes and it remained 3-0 at the break. GMA added one more goal in the second half and it was Calum McLay who completed his hat-trick with nine minutes remaining.
GMA top the table, ahead of Strachur on goal difference.

Inveraray P
Oban Lorn P
The Inveraray second team and Oban Lorn have still to get their seasons under way after their meeting at the Winterton was postponed on Saturday morning. A venue switch to Oban wasn’t an option.

The Aberdour seconds were without a scheduled fixture in this seven team league.

WCA Round Up
The Women’s Camanachd Association focus was on the Marine Harvest North and South second divisions on Sunday March 19.

Marine Harvest North Division 2
Strathglass 1
Lochaber 1
Strathglass and the Lochaber seconds shared the points in a 1-1 draw at Cannich.
The teams agreed to play 10-a-side for this fixture.
Chloe MacLeod scored for Strathglass and Alison MacVicar got the Lochaber goal.

Strathspey 0
Glengarry 2
Two second half goals gave Glengarry a 2-0 win over Strathspey in their 1pm throw-up at Grantown Grammar School.
Elaine Cameron and Siobhan West were on target for ’Garry.

Marine Harvest South Division 2
Ardnamurchan 9
Dunadd 0
Ardnamurchan followed up their win over Lorn Ladies with a 9-0 victory over Dunadd in their 2pm throw-up at Strontian.
Eilidh Ross was again Ardnamurchan’s top scorer with five goals whilst Carolanne Cameron was on target twice.
Gillian Gallacher and Joanne Ford got the others.

Glasgow Mid Argyll 4
Cowal and Bute 3
The Glasgow Mid Argyll second team edged out Cowal and Bute by the odd goal in seven in their 12.30pm throw-up at Yoker.
Amy Harris scored twice for GMA with Orla MacCarthy and Caitriona Stark getting the others.
Fay Robertson bagged a brace for Cowal and Bute with Heather Ferguson also scoring.

Lorn Ladies P
Oban Lorn P
The 1.30pm throw-up between Lorn Ladies and Oban Lorn was postponed because of an unplayable pitch.